Africa has limited abilities in war against climate change

African countries have renewed their push to combat climate change, with new commitments to boost funding for clean and renewable energy sources as it emerged that the continent has suffered some of the worst effects of climate change in decades.

Over 450 policymakers from governments and private sector around the world gathered in Nairobi during the third One Planet Summit this past week to review the progress on the ongoing war against climate change and deliberate on new measures to deal with the disaster.

But, even though African governments promised to step up efforts against environmental degradation, greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, it is argued that this war would never be won without the support of industrialised nations.

Data shows that the proportion of carbon emissions in Africa is estimated at four per cent of the global emissions compared to 80 per cent by the most industrialised countries (G20).

As a result, it is feared that efforts by Africa to combat climate change will not yield fruits in the absence of serious collaboration with the industrialised economies.

Although Africa is responsible for only four per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions, over 65 per cent of its population is believed to be directly affected by climate change.

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“The consequences of climate change are already here in Africa and the future of agriculture is uncertain. Everybody has to make a commitment to combat climate change and all of us have to deliver on the commitments we make,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.

“We have to acknowledge the role of science in the fight against climate change.”

The Summit, organised by the UN brought together local, regional and national leaders, as well as those working in public and private finance to discuss how they can support and accelerate global efforts to fight climate change.

The first and second summits were held in Paris (2017) and New York (2018).

It is estimated that $3 trillion’s worth of financing is required to deal with the catastrophe of climate change by 2030, with about 75 per cent of the funding to be provided by the private sector.

The World Bank and the African Development Bank will together commit more than $47 billion by 2025 to help African countries tackle the effects of climate change.

Many countries on the continent, especially those on its coasts, are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as rising sea levels, coral reef deterioration, frequent droughts, desertification and floods.

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The World Bank said in a statement it had pledged $22.5 billion for 2021-2025, while the AfDB said it had committed $25 billion to climate finance between 2020 and 2025.

The AfDB said the funds would be used to increase investment in renewable energy projects like solar power plants.

“The share of our portfolio that was in renewable energy generation between 2013 and 2015 was 59 per cent but from 2015 to 2018 we moved from that to 95 per cent,” AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina told Reuters on the sidelines of the UN environment meeting.

The World Bank said the beneficiaries of its funding would include projects in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya.

“We can leverage on the private sector for funding to upscale investment in renewable energy,” said Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.

During the Summit, several financial institutions promised to increase funding to projects and programmes meant to conserve and preserve the environment

According to the AfDB, the continent requires $20 billion to $30 billion every year for the next two decades to help fund climate change adaptation and resilience and accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon economy.

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In 2017, the AfDB announced that 40 per cent of its total revenues would go towards climate change initiatives. So far it has attained 34 per cent, according to Bank president Akinwumi Adesina.

The amount more than doubles the commitment to climate-related projects over the last five years and is expected to help African countries manage the risks of a changing climate while unlocking new investment opportunities

Last year, an estimated $1.7 billion was committed to 30 countries in Africa, where 20 projects for reducing global warming had been identified.

“People across Africa are already experiencing the growing impacts of climate change. This region is particularly vulnerable to increasing floods, droughts and destructive storms, but the fight against climate change is the fight we must carry on and we have no choice but to win it.

“Africa is the continent with enormous opportunity to move to a low carbon path,” said Kristalina Georgieva, the World Bank’s interim president.

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